Since the beginning of my journey with TMJ (before I even knew I had it) I found there were foods I sometimes had difficulties eating. As a general rule if I can not eat anything chewy/tough or hard/crunchy. As with any rule, there are exceptions. But if you think about it, this eliminates quite a bit of food from my diet. I feel like I'm facing the same situation I did right after I had a tonsillectomy in February of 2009. For two weeks all I ate was popcicles made from real fruit and mashed potatoes, with tiny bits of chicken and other small foods when I could.
One of my all-time favorite candies is Haribo Gold-Bears (in the photo). These are the only gummy bears I will eat (I'm a gummy snob), but now I won't be eating any gummy bears; it puts too much pressure on my jaw. Oh and you can't suck on a gummy bear like you can a mint and have it get smaller and smaller. Nope. Doesn't work. I tried.
Some days are better than others, especially since my treatment with the MORA began. However, I find that many foods I used to enjoy are no longer, well, enjoyable. I've been compiling a few lists of foods I can and can not eat. Below are my lists. Sometimes foods on one list may find themselves on another list.
Haribo gummies *tear*
carrots - raw
breads with hard crusts (french bread) or a chewy texture
uncooked flour tortillas
things you have to bite into such as an apple (but sliced up is okay)
no big bites, no matter what it is
whole nuts such as almonds
Be Careful List
anything that requires a lot of chewing per bite
many candy bars
Most things in small bites
bacon (if it's cooked right)
boiled peanuts (yay!)
hot dogs (with small bites)
In a crazy sort of way, I like having to watch what I eat. It has made me a lot more conscious of what I put in my mouth. I'm really hoping I can piggyback off this and work on cutting down my sugar and starch intake. I'm trying to eat more healthy foods and lose a little weight. I certainly think twice before grabbing a snack - one because I'll have to take out my MORA and then put it back in (I'm lazy. That's an annoyance), two because sometimes I just don't want to work my jaw. Lots of eating/lots of chewing - whether easy to chew or not - can tire out the jaw. Tired jaw = unhappy Shauna.
So it seems most of what I can eat is soft. While most of what I eat is soft, I can eat a lot of things if I chew slowly and take very small bites. I don't want to be on a soft foods diet for the rest of my life. My parents made ribs the last time I was there. My mom chose boneless so I wouldn't have to bite off the bone. Because rib meat can be chewy, I dipped mine in a lot of sauce. This really helped. I didn't feel like I was going to die of chewing.
As I figure out more of what I can and can not eat, I will update this entry.
Thought of the Day: "So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being." - Franz Kafka
Hmmm. Not sure how I feel about that one. I know it solves whether or not I can eat it, but all questions?
Update 9/15/12 - I tried popcorn today for the first time since my diagnosis. At first I thought it was going to be fine... The more I ate, the more it hurt. I tried to discern why it was painful. Was it the amount of chewing? Was it the way I was chewing? Was it the texture of the food? It almost seemed to be a combination of things. I ate the popcorn about 2 hours ago. My jaw is still sore. Maybe I could handle popcorn in small quantities but definitely not a lot at one time.